1. Introduction 1
2. The Nature of Textiles 15
3. Textile Fibre Production 24
4. Production of Synthetic Fibres 45
5. Yam Production: Starting Material State 69
6. Process Parameter in Blow Room 92
7. Fundamental of the Carding Process 133
8. Analysis and Enhancement of Carding and Spinning 158
9. The Textile Industry 169
10. Traditional Fabric Production 186
II. Fabric Treatment Processes 196
12. Primary and Secondary Production 223
PERCEPTIONS OF FABRIC
In recent years there has been a dynamic shift in attitudes toward textiles, and a new type of textile designer has challenged traditional forms of construction and content. As a result of a broadening vocabulary of materials, processes and techniques, textile designers are faced with more creative choice than ever before. New sensitivities and responses are also called for. On another level, attitudes and activities within the practice now mirror all facets of contemporary life; textile designers can be radical, funky, technical, conservative or serene; tradition has loosened. Many of the exciting changes that have happened in fabric in recent years have acted as a creative stimulus for other design disciplines.
This versatile medium now supplies the worlds of fashion and interiors with an increasing and sometimes challenging range of materials and products. The fashion designer now constantly looks for original, innovative materials to work with, making fabric a fundamental part of contemporary fashion statements. For the interior designer or architect, new textiles offer everything from the complete co-ordinated chilled look to eclectic zany mixes. Whether they are looking for harmony, drama or functionality there is always one or more of these on offer, and quite often all three of them at the same time. An increasingly diverse and sophisticated consumer market has witnessed innovations in fabric blends, the use of new technologies and the amazing march of synthetics. The effect of this combination has been the ability to explore new surface qualities of matt and shine as well as new combinations of weight and performance, and to reinvigorate old yarns and traditional fabric patterns. The look, the feel and the drape of fabric has entered a new era. No longer is the use of materials restricted to a perennial function: sportswear enters street wear, safety and protective clothing can influence couture. These dynamic fusions in their own way stimulate further opportunities – there are new surfaces to print on, and fabric development starts to play with surface qualities as variable as the difference between paper and rubber, between moss and cellophane.
NEW FABRICS, NEW AESTHETICS
The fusion of technology and tradition has revealed itself in a diverse assortment of new fabrics and materials, impeccably mirroring changes in lifestyle and the way we embrace modernity and progress in the twenty-first century. Increasingly the gap between the producer of textiles and the consumer is shrinking, enforcing the demand for innovation. The merger of tradition and technology applies to almost every aspect of the textiles world; from designers to craftspeople to artists and industry.
Lifestyle culture has also been responsible for blurring the relationship between these disciplines and creating new intermediate markets and opportunities. Similar changes in the world of fashion create even more hybrid designers and virtuoso applications of fabric. Consequently, during the last decade of the twentieth century, a new breed of designers came to the forefront of textiles, and their work sits as comfortably in a gallery as it does on the shelf in Barneys, Liberty, Bergdorf Goodman or Harvey Nichols. The ‘new’ textile professional has foreSight and employs intuition, working in a space where there are no limitations or restrictions.
Advances in textile design have had a remarkable effect on fashion. In addition to exploring issues of silhouette, the fashion designer envisages material innovation as an important motivating factor in his or her creative process. On occasion the material itself may well inspire silhouette. The creative collaboration between the fashion designer Issey Miyake and Makiko Minagawa, the textile director of Miyake Design Studio, illustrates this. Today’s textile designer is resourceful and multi-talented, and can be found either in a laboratory breaking new ground through developing hi-tech materials, or leading the way by broadening the vocabulary of advanced decorative effects. This is often achieved by means of investigating processes and treatments such as moulding, embossing, heat-bonding and sculpting as practiced by Sophie Roet and Nigel Atkinson. Material innovation in textiles involves surface exploration which can now result in novel, sometimes curious and extraordinary fabrics. These are attained by way of combining various methods of production and finishing. Outcomes can be exciting but poised carefully between the worlds of commercialism and discovery.
More unconventional approaches to making and designing are often stimulated by developments in yarn and fibre technology. These constantly enhance the creativity of the textile deSigner, as do innovations in textile processes which direct us away from traditional notions about the subject. Yarn innovation has led to avant-garde mixtures of fibres, including the silk and aluminium ‘In ox’ yarn and the wool and stainless steel blend from ‘Bekintex’. These blends not only boost the properties of natural fibres but also usually offer additional qualities such as reducing static.
Besides possessing performance-enhancing benefits, yarns are also developed for aesthetic reasons in order to achieve specific visual or textural effects. Synthetic fibres are often treated to mimic the intrinsic qualities of natural fibres or to create unusual, quirky finishes such as crunchy, glassy, clear nylon or novelty rubberized wool that feels like paper and looks like bark.
The recent technical and aesthetic progress in textiles deserves wider recognition. Today, the subject includes remarkable fabrics, distinctive furnishings, fascinating artworks and spectacular fashion. We are witnessing an era that is historically unmatched in terms of invention and experimentation in the field of textiles. An increasing number of designers are revealing the scope of the subject and the versatility of textiles as a creative medium. Through its major trade fairs, scattered across every continent, textiles now manages to disseminate these innovations rapidly across the globe.